By JENNIFER FITCH
6:04 PM EDT, March 19, 2011
It was exceptionally warm early on the morning of April 6, 2010, when Jeffrey Miles stood on a bridge and looked out over the northbound lanes of Interstate 81.
Police said Miles threatened suicide and mused about "evil and demons" inside him after officers arrived at 2:30 a.m.
Was Miles sincere? Or was the threat a ploy undertaken because he knew authorities were investigating him in connection with the death of a Hagerstown woman?
Whatever his intentions, Miles didn't jump and instead left the bridge in police custody. Later that day, he was charged with criminal homicide in the death of Kristy Dawn Hoke, whose body was found, in part, because of a conversation Miles' son had with police.
According to court documents, Miles later that day took investigators to the woods off East Ninth Street in Waynesboro, Pa. There, in a small clearing surrounded by brambles, police found the slashed body of Hoke.
The Hagerstown mother of three, identified in court as a police informant, had been reported missing days earlier.
At noon on the day Hoke's body was found, troopers descended on a farm adjacent to the underpass between Waynesboro and Greencastle, Pa.
"As a result of this (Hoke) investigation, information was developed that led troopers to a wooded area off state Route 16 in Washington Township. ... Upon the troopers' arrival there, they discovered skeletal remains that were partially concealed by vegetation and overgrowth," Trooper Tom Pinkerton said at a news conference at the time.
Dental records identified the remains as those of Angie Lynn Daley, who was 17 in 1995 when her family in Waynesboro reported her missing.
No one has been charged in Daley's death.
Eleven months have passed since the bodies of Hoke and Daley were found near the Maryland border.
A daughter disappears
Sunday Gossert was surprised when she learned she was pregnant with her first child. She and Angie's father, Clarence Daley, married five months into the pregnancy, preparing for the child's birth with the nervousness not uncommon for first-time parents.
Gossert spent 16 hours in labor before Angie's entrance into the world on Nov. 28, 1977, at Waynesboro Hospital. She weighed 6 pounds 6 ounces and didn't have a single hair on her head.
"We have a lot of pictures of her, with her being the first born," Sunday Gossert said.
"Angie was a good child. She didn't cry a lot," Clarence Daley said.
Sister Ashley was born 5 1/2 years later, and brother, Eddie, followed 3 1/2 years after that.
Angie, who started talking at age 2, enjoyed helping to clean and cook. Mother and daughter listened to the rock band AC/DC when Angie got older, and she taught her grandmother to play "Tetris" on Nintendo.
Angie's parents divorced when she was 11, and after that, she took care of her younger sister and brother while living with Clarence Daley, Gossert said.
Gossert said she suspects that Angie resented stepping into a motherly role, then "broke loose" when she turned 16 and started driving.
Angie would stay out for a few days at a time, and at least once, she hitched a ride across the country with a truck driver. Gossert said Angie ended up in California, and Clarence Daley said he received a call from Angie when she was in Texas.
But when Gossert's second husband, David Lehnhart, died in January 1995, Angie stayed around the house and comforted her mother.
The last exchange Gossert remembers having with her oldest daughter was paying Angie's speeding ticket before Angie and her siblings left for their annual beach trip with their father.
For years, Gossert carried in her wallet the last note she had from her daughter, who wrote "Mom, went to McDonald's. Be back. Don't leave. Love, Angie" in looping letters.
That crumpled note is tucked in a picture frame with an 8-by-10-inch copy of one of the final pictures taken of Angie.
Angie often would hang out at Waynesboro's McDonald's with other teenagers, her parents said.
On Aug. 24, 1995, after they returned from the beach, Clarence Daley dropped Angie off at a friend's house on Waynesboro's Hawbaker Avenue.
Her family never heard from her again.
They waited a couple of weeks before reporting Angie missing.
"We just figured that it was another adventure," Sunday Gossert said, noting she'd keep from worrying by recalling the time her daughter disappeared to go on the cross-country trek and returned safely.
Police had been contacted in previous instances of Angie leaving home, so Clarence Daley suspects officers weren't too concerned when told she had gone missing after that beach trip.
"They brushed it off that she had run off," he said.
Others, however, felt something was amiss almost immediately.
"We were scared for her. We wondered where she was," said Suzi Delarnoux, Angie's counselor at Manito, an alternative school.
Sunday Gossert said Angie did fairly well in traditional school until she reached ninth grade. She said her oldest daughter didn't fit into the high school environment, so she attended Manito for two years.
While there, Angie thrived and led a very social life in the smaller classes, Delarnoux said.
"I think she felt like she belonged," Delarnoux said.
Delarnoux said Angie was nicknamed the "spark plug" at school because she was energetic and funny.
"She wanted to please her parents," Delarnoux said. "She wanted to make something of herself."
It was those family connections that caused Delarnoux to doubt Angie had run away and never called.
"She loved her family," Delarnoux said.
A mother taken
Kristy Hoke's family said the Hagerstown woman was first and foremost a mother to her three children.
"It's a shock for everybody," said Beverly Durboraw, who now is raising her grandchildren.
Durboraw said Kristy's "happy-go-lucky" disposition was only disrupted if someone spoke disparagingly of her children, who range in age from 4 to 15.
"She did not like anyone to talk about her children," Durboraw said.
Durboraw said her daughter's absence is profoundly felt in the family, especially as Kristy's oldest daughter gets ready for the prom and Kristy isn't there to help her choose a dress or a hairstyle.
"She's not going to see her graduate or get married," Durboraw said.
Kristy's passion in her youth was competitive roller-skating, which led to travels for competitions. As a girl, she once competed in Indiana.
Kristy, who was 29 when she died, had a younger brother, Gary, and a stepbrother.
Almost six years ago, Kristy married Ronald Lee Hoke Jr. In late 2007, Kristy filed criminal charges and sought a temporary protective order against him, but her mother said they were reconciling and making plans for the future at the time of her death.
Ronald Hoke said he met his wife, whom he called "Krissy," Nov. 3, 2003, through his cousin. He said they traveled in the same circles for years but had not met before that.
"Krissy and I were best friends, soulmates and our family began to form," Hoke wrote in a tear-stained letter.
They were married May 13, 2005, in a courthouse ceremony, and Ronald Hoke wrote they dreamed of renewing their vows someday in a big church ceremony. He said his wife loved breakfast in bed and also enjoyed shopping, interior decorating, cooking, the Lifetime channel, cleaning, watching movies and playing video games.
"Above all, we loved being in the company of each other with our children. ... The kids were her world, her everything," wrote Hoke, an inmate at Roxbury Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown.
He is serving a six-year sentence on an arson charge for setting a fire in 2007 near a mobile home where Kristy was staying.
Kristy loved her children Alivia, Whitnie and Darian with all her heart, Hoke wrote.
"She just wanted to be there with them for their first crush, love, kiss, their proms, graduations, weddings and grandkids," Hoke wrote.
"This is a nightmare that I just want to wake up from. It has hit me hard, and the pain and hurt will never go away," Hoke wrote, saying he still calls Kristy's cell phone to hear her voice on the recording.
"My daughter was everything and always will be everything, and now she's gone. I don't think anyone on this Earth deserves to have their children destroyed by another person," Durboraw said.
The police detective
Seven years after Angie's disappearance, her family first met Mark King, then a detective with the Waynesboro Police Department. He was assigned to take a fresh look at the case by then-Police Chief Ray Shultz, who is now retired but had participated in the initial investigation.
"I was disappointed we couldn't come up with anything," Shultz said.
King, a Waynesboro native, worked his way up through the police ranks in Waynesboro and a neighboring department. His detail-oriented personality seemed a natural fit for the detective role.
King gave Angie's disappearance the most thorough review it ever had, Gossert said. He developed some leads, but none strong enough to close the case, Shultz said.
King, who was named police chief when Shultz left in 2008, kept in touch with Angie's family over the years. They say he never forgot about her.
So it was perhaps fitting that King was present when Angie's remains were found in an overgrown field on that April day. Her mother said he was the one who knocked on her door to break the news that Angie had at last been found.
Sources close to the investigation say King, who declined to be interviewed for this story, was instrumental in piecing together information that led authorities to Angie.
From athlete to inmate
Miles, 47, has worn yellow, prison-issue jumpsuits during his appearances in Franklin County (Pa.) Court. Before he gained weight in prison, the uniform did little to hide the fact that although he stands only 5 foot 4 inches tall, he had a muscular frame.
Voted "most athletic" by classmates at North Hagerstown High School, Miles was a running back on the school's football team and ran track for the Hubs before graduating in 1981.
"He was promoted to the varsity as a sophomore when I was a senior," said Maryland Del. Andrew Serafini. "He was a great athlete ... (and) probably one of the fastest guys I ever played with, even in college."
Serafini said he was more familiar with Miles' older brother, Kelly, with whom he attended elementary school, but he remembered Jeffrey Miles as a fun-loving guy.
"He got along well with everybody," Serafini said.
Miles had lived several places in the Hagerstown area over the past two decades.
In 1992, Miles lived on Sumans Avenue in Hagerstown, on Fair Oaks Court in 1996 and on Eden Avenue in 2001, Maryland court records state. At various times between 1999 and 2009, court records listed his address as Forest Drive in Hagerstown, and in 2007 his address was an apartment on North Locust Street.
"He's lived at numerous addresses for 20-plus years," said David Rush, a Pennsylvania state trooper specializing in criminal investigation.
State police feel they have a complete timeline of Miles' whereabouts in his adult life, Rush said.
"He moved around fairly often," said Trooper Aaron Martin, also a criminal investigator.
Although he moved frequently, Miles remained in Hagerstown and southern Franklin County, according to Rush and Martin.
"We don't have him in any other states far away or any lapses of time when he might have been somewhere else," Rush said.
Miles, who has more than a dozen children, was the subject of paternity lawsuits in Washington and Franklin counties, according to court records in those counties.
In the 1990s, Miles worked for a company that owns several of the fast-food restaurants in the area, and a portion of his wages were being garnished to pay child support, according to one paternity lawsuit.
He picked up other odd jobs, including hauling scrap metal and working for cleaning companies.
Miles was "basically a laborer as long as he's been able to have a job," Rush said.
Miles was not far from home on the morning he walked out onto the bridge. At that time he had been living with a woman at 485 East Ave. in State Line, Pa., about a mile from the overpass.
That home was damaged by three fires on one August 2010 weekend. Investigators said the fires appeared to be unrelated to Miles' connection to the house.
Bob Byers of Mont Alto, Pa., said he worked with Miles in construction in Hagerstown in the 1990s. Miles enjoyed talking about sex in graphic detail, including sex in prison. Byers, who described himself as a Christian, said he asked Miles to drop the subject of sex when he was around.
Byers also recalled Miles having a quick temper, in one instance throwing a sledgehammer during an argument and narrowly missing a co-worker.
Over the years, Miles faced charges of theft, terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and driving without a license, court records show.
However, Pennsylvania State Police said Miles wasn't someone who was a constant problem.
"It's not that he was somebody who was well-known" to us, Rush said. "It's not like the barracks here had regular dealings with Jeff Miles."
Kristy Hoke, too, might not have had frequent contact with Miles. Her mother said he had stopped a couple of times at the home she and her daughter shared in Northaven Mobile Home Park, where Durboraw remembers Miles working with scrap metal.
Miles, who pleaded not guilty Sept. 15, 2010, is awaiting trial on the criminal homicide charge in Hoke's death. His public defender did not return messages seeking comment.
Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Eric R. Augustine filed notice he intends to seek the death penalty.
Investigators believe they have recovered a pair of scissors used to kill Hoke, Augustine said in court on Oct. 26, 2010.
Martin said state police were providing requested materials to the Franklin County District Attorney's Office for the Hoke trial.
In Angie's case, state police submitted her remains and other items to a crime lab, he said.
Angie's remains haven't been returned to the family, but a headstone has been purchased in preparation for burial at Quincy (Pa.) Cemetery, her mother said.
When asked how old Angie was when she died, Martin said it was "roughly the same age she was when she disappeared."
Daley died of blunt force head trauma, Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey Conner said last April.
Miles was not interviewed when Daley went missing or when King reinvigorated the case, Martin said. He described the work by Waynesboro police as "very competent."
"There are a lot of things we need to follow up on. They had a lot of things that helped us get to where we are now," Martin said.
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